When I think about Thanksgivings as a child, I am not moved by the memory of savory smells coming from the kitchen or the din of a football game on television and laughter in the background, but instead by the details of a day that was all about doing nothing, something that no longer exists in our chaotic world.
The Thanksgivings of my youth were lazy days when the entire family slept in, and sometimes even went back to bed for a midafternoon nap. Nothing was open on Thanksgiving, so there were no distractions of early Black Friday sales. We had just three television channels and no iPads or computers to keep us busy. So, we read, played board games or helped in the kitchen.
My family alternated between hosting the meal and going to a friend’s house every other year. My mother was not much of a cook, and frankly, I was not much of an eater, so it was less about the food and more about setting a beautiful table and placing a large group of engaged family and friends around it.
On Thanksgiving, I got to drink Pepsi and wear pantyhose, two things I was rarely allowed to do during the rest of the year. And while I don’t remember much about the meals themselves, or even the conversation, it was a day that my busy working parents were always home, and that was almost as important to me as the Pepsi and pantyhose.
This year, we will be out of town for Thanksgiving. It will be non-traditional as we will be in a place that doesn’t celebrate the holiday. I’m not sure what we will eat, or where exactly we will share a meal, but one thing I know for sure is that I will be at a table with my family with no phones or iPads or other distractions to keep us from interacting.
Whether we eat turkey or pasta, I will be thankful for their company and for our time together because that to me is what the holiday is all about, being fully in the moment with the people you love. I’m pretty sure my girls have no interest in wearing pantyhose, a remnant from another generation, but if they ask for Pepsi, the answer will be a resounding yes …
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.